“A cataract is not a growth – it is the opacification of the natural lens of the eye which can lead to cloudy vision. A cataract is the result of the natural ageing process and usually happens over the age of 50.”
Dr Mark Jacobs and Dr Doug Roydhouse explain what a cataract is.
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Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the world. A cataract develops when the natural lens of the eye (the crystalline lens) starts to cloud up and harden. This is a natural part of the ageing process and can happen over a period of time, as the protein structure within the lens deteriorates, although occasionally this can happen quickly.
Cataracts are not a growth, they are a normal part of the ageing process. In fact, most people with cataracts are healthy and have no other eye problems. They mainly occur in people who are over the age of 60. However it is not unknown for them to occur in people who are younger – some people are even born with congenital cataracts. Most at risk are people who have a family history of cataracts, although they have also been linked to other diseases such as diabetes, prolonged exposure to sunlight or related to smoking and alcohol use.
As a cataract progresses, the following may occur:
If you notice any of these symptoms, you’ll need to visit your GP or optometrist.
If your GP or optometrist suspects that you have a cataract, you’ll be referred to a ophthalmologist. You can request that you are referred to the ophthalmologist of your choice. At Vision Eye Institute, we ensure that we perform an extensive range of tests. As Australia’s largest provider of ophthalmic services, we have the ability to ensure that all diagnostic equipment used in our clinics is the very latest technology. If cataracts are discovered, your surgeon will discuss the options, explain surgery and answer all of your questions regarding the benefits and potential risks, so you can make a fully informed decision.
To learn more about cataract surgery, click here.